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I’m A Fantastic Lazy Failure (and Everyone Else is Doing Better Than Me)

You know the feeling.

I like to fill out my schedule every Sunday, writing up all the tasks and updating my calendar. I’ll throw in things like “work on this creative project on Tuesday!” and so on, and as I write it, I can feel the motivation seeping in. THIS IS THE WEEK. THIS IS WHEN THINGS HAPPEN. I’m motivated, I’m creative, I have all my time divvied up, this is going to be great.

I sleep in on Monday. I rush to work half-asleep. I get home, I eat my dinner, I watch sixteen episodes of X-Files and read a book. I glance over the editing I was going to do today. (That totally counts as actual novel editing, anyway...) It’s all okay; there’s still a whole week ahead of me.

I have a panic attack on Tuesday. My thoughts are murky and it’s hard to wade through them. I spend most of the morning out of it. I go to Starbucks with the intention to work and end up on Pinterest the whole time. Maybe I get some writing done that night, but it’s not the project I meant to finish.

Wednesday flies by, and all of a sudden, I don’t quite have that whole week of productivity anymore.

I’m a big lazy failure, and there’s a whole Instagram feed of my productive creative friends to prove it.

I go through periods of my life where I’m caught up in that endless cycle of thinking I can, and then watching half the week fly by, and then scraping by until Sunday, and so on again and again and again and again, until the panic of the whole thing overwhelms me and I give up on even trying anymore. It’s all too easy to get caught up in comparison and feeling like I should be better. I should write more. I should take advantage of every single piece of free time I have, constantly. I should churn out pages and pages and pages of novel-editing every single day, and I should be impressive, and —

And eventually, I’m too caught up in trying to be something I’m not to recognize what I’m doing right, what I’m doing well, or even that I’m not taking care of myself anymore. Little by little, I’m getting better (though those habits and thought patterns creep in all the time) and little by little, I’m starting to realize something weird.

You don’t have to overwork yourself to be productive. You don’t have to fill every second of your time with ​something to be successful or feel good. You are allowed leisure time.
I’m gonna say it again for me most of all.

You are allowed to have leisure time.

Self-care is productive. Watching an episode of your favorite episode when you get home from work and all you want to do is rest is productive. Taking the time to stop, to recharge, is good.

You don’t have to actively be “doing something” to be productive.

You don’t have to do something all week every day of the week to be productive, either.

Some days you will slay. You’ll feel on top of the world. Some days all you’ll get done is something small. That’s all right. The day is done, it’s over, you can’t re-do. All you can do is keep going. Keep on taking it a step at a time, doing what you can, taking care of yourself and listening to your mind and body when you need to. What your friends or acquaintances or lifestyle bloggers on the internet do does not set the universal standard for productivity — we’re all individuals, and only you can be you, and only you have your time and your schedule and your body and your needs. Your productive may be vastly different from someone else’s. What pushes you will be different.

Listen to yourself.

Take it a step at a time.

You are working at your own pace, and there is always time to keep going, to do better, to achieve higher goals. Right now, all you can do is the next little thing. We’re not all productive 100% of the time, and that’s okay.

You’re not a failure.

You’re just living life.

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